California's length limit on motorcoaches? I have a 45' Newell and I am planning a trip to San Fransico in late July. I am told that California does not allow a motorcoach over 40' to travel on state roads. I would appreciate any information regarding this matter.
California's length limit on motorcoaches - For many years, California has had a regulation on their books (we would call it obsolete, but we don't really have a say) that limits vehicle length, with certain exceptions (not including private motor homes or private buses) to 40 feet. When the luxury coach market started selling over-40 foot coaches several years ago, virtually no one (manufacturers, dealers, California law enforcement, etc.) was aware of this regulation. Several other states had similar (obsolete?) regulations, but there was no enforcement. Most of the other states revised the problems regulations, and those that did not have not been issuing citations. However, a couple of years ago, the California bureaucracy, to their horror, became aware that there were all these "illegal" over 40 foot vehicles traveling the highways of their fair state, endangering their citizens and creating carnage on the highways. It was as if the Red Menace of the '50s had returned. Great confusion ensued. However, the good news is that it quickly dawned on the enforcement side in California that, as a practical matter, issuing citations is not an answer. California citizens would be unfairly penalized, and lucrative out-of-state tourism would be discouraged. The motor home industry has been working hard to get the remedial legislation, AB67, through the California Assembly and signed by the governor. Last year, for reasons still unclear, after the Assembly passed AB67 unanimously, the governor vetoed it. This year, AB67 has again been working its way though the legislative committee structure and it is hoped that it will come to a vote and pass within the next few weeks. There is guarded optimism that the governor will sign the bill this time. In the meantime, 45 foot coaches are driving around California with only the very occasional ticket issued. We know of two Newells stopped this past year. One did not receive a citation. The other owner was ticketed and fined, so he wrote to the judge, who graciously suspended the fine. Bottom line: go to California with your 45 Newell, be careful not to be pulled over for speeding or some other infraction, but if you are stopped, smile sweetly and say "yes, sir/ yes ma'am," and "no, sir / no ma'am" to the officer. And enjoy the Golden State while you are there.
Where can a 45-foot motorhome be driven? 45-foot motorhomes can legally be driven on the same routes that 45-foot tour buses may currently use. Those routes include all state routes except those on the restrictions list, which is titled "CALIFORNIA STATE HIGHWAY PROHIBITIONS for BUSES & MOTORHOMES over 40 Feet (up to and including 45 Feet)." This list is on the Caltrans web site and can be accessed through this link: Bus & Motorhome Restricted Routes.
Is there a map of bus and motorhome routes? Yes, there is a hard copy map of state routes showing green access routes and red restricted routes for 45-foot buses and motorhomes. Maps are now available -- one copy free per single-unit motorhome over 40 feet. To order, call (916) 654-5741, or e-mail Casey Robb or Manuel Fonseca (see addresses below). When e-mailing, please include complete mailing address and phone number.
What about city and county roads? AB 67 allowed 45-foot motorhomes primarily on certain state routes, not local roads. Caltrans has jurisdiction over state routes only. Cities and counties have jurisdiction over local roads. To inquire about motorhome access on local roads, contact the appropriate city or county public works department.
What about stopping for services? AB 67 states that a 45-foot motorhome may exit the designated route for fuel, food, and lodging provided the access is safe, and provided the service is within one road mile of an "identified" exit. The exit must be identified to show that the service route has been evaluated and approved. Currently, the only identification system for service exits is a "Service Access" sign, which is an "S" on the back of a truck, as illustrated below. These signs were intended for large trucks, and are located primarily on the Interstates.
In 2001 I recieved 3 tickets from the Ca. DOT at a Sacremento T/A truck stop, which I was told by truckers, is a favorite spot for the local DOT officer. 1, for being 45', 2, for total over length with trailer of 71 ft. and 3, for OVERWIDTH, because of the AWNING! When I questioned him on the 3rd offensive, he calmly asked me "How many tickets would you like to get" I closed my mouth and later phoned the court to question the 3rd ticket. I was told to appear in court and they would toss out the over width ticket. Let me see, " pay a $150 fine or pay $450 for a plane ride to fight for the cause!" A no brainer. I also had to drop the trailer and have it towed at a cost of $800. I was scared to death in Ca. for the next few months. But, as I have no option but to go there 2 times a year, I continued and my fear went away with no futher problems. I actually was pulled over for exceeding the speed limit in Ca. in 2004 and the officer wasn't at all concerned about my "rig". Since we must go to Long Beach and Monterey each year we do travel on roads that are not on the "legal" list, and have not had a further incident. (yet) :roll:
1994 Newell #365 w/Corvette, 2002 streetrod 34 ford golf cart, 2009 Smart Car, 1958 Century Coronado, 1965 Cruisers Inc, CAR & BOAT CRAZY! LOVE OUR NEWELL!